October has been a slow read month. (After I typed that, I had to check the date to make sure it is still October. This year is zooming by!) I doubt I will finish even 8 books this month – which is low for me.
There are a number of reasons why I am reading less, mostly to do with the twins. We are trying to get a lot of work done around here so that we all fit comfortably in our house when they arrive. The current state of my house is somewhere between “Disaster” and “Apocalyptic-type Devastation.” I am antsy because the nesting bug has bitten me, but I can’t nest because everything is everywhere. We are re-flooring our whole upstairs while living in it, which means furniture is constantly moving and being shoved in inconvenient locations.
All this is to say, that my brain is as scrambled as my living quarters. And I am having a hard time focusing on anything, let alone books.
Also, when I do manage to sit for a few moments, I am uncomfortable. Which isn’t any different from when I am standing, but less taxing. I don’t know how the twins are going to keep growing for the next 6 weeks, because there isn’t any more room in there.
But, despite all my trials and tribulations, I have still managed to crack a book or two. I know, I am a modern-day hero. Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale have nothing on me.
What I read:
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk is a Newberry Honor Book from a year or two ago. It is an American war time book of a 12 year old girl, Annabelle, who becomes the target of a bully. The bully goes on to target a local hermit who is battling demons from the First World War. Annabelle does her best to save her friend the hermit but disaster strikes none-the-less.
This is a well-written book that is reminiscent of two of my favourite Newberry Medal Winners: The War that Saved My Life and Moon over Manifest. I love kid’s lit that deal with the Wars, or other traumatic events in history, because I think they add a level of humanity that we can sometimes forget to have. If you enjoy war time tales, another fantastic YA war novel is Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. The shoemaker in this novel is one of my favourite characters, and is as well developed as Francie Nolan in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, or characters by literary giants Wendell Berry, and Wallace Stegner.
What I am Reading:
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, first published in 1938, is a delightful tale of a spinster governess/maid on the verge of destitution who is sent by her employment agency to an upscale address. She is greeted by damsel in distress with too many lovers and too few morals. Miss Pettigrew steps out of her comfort zone to help her, partially because the workhouse is her next and last option, but mostly because the life she stumbles on is nothing like the life she has known. The light-hearted antics that ensue hour by hour make for a fun, easy read.
The only draw back to this novel is that I find it too dialogue-y. (This is also my complaint about The Picture of Dorian Gray) I find dialogue-heavy books make me feel anxious – kind of like when I am in dialogue-y situations in real life 🙂
What Will I read Next:
This is tougher to say: I have 2 behemoths waiting for me from the library, Island of the World and The Father’s Tale. They are by author Michael O’Brien, whom I have never read. I heard about him on a (somewhat) recent episode of What Should I read Next, where the guest said that these two books were among her favourites of all time, and her descriptions intrigued me. I thought they would make a great fall read as the weather cooled down, but we are having a rather warm fall (which is not helping my discomfort.) I will pick one of them up next: I will let you know what I choose!
What I am Listening too:
And, of course, my current audio: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. This book has won a number of awards and has been long-listed and short-listed for a bunch of other awards, but only has a 3.7/5 rating on Goodreads. I am only 1 hour into and can’t say I am loving it, but it may be a book I need to read in written form. I have a few other audio books queued, so I may abandon it (which is something I have only recently started to do!) to take up another audiobook.
But I need to mention a recent audiobook I just finished: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. I read this book a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. I loved it just as much in audio. Set in war-torn Chechnya, the book starts in December 2004 with 8 year-old Haava hiding in the woods. She is taken to a local hospital by a family friend who bargains with on the only remaining doctor, Sonja, to allow Haava to stay in the hospital with her. The novel bounces back and forth between the end of 2004 and the past few decades, and between different characters to tell the story of what happened to Haava’s family, to Sonja’s sister, and to many families during the war years in Chechnya. This book is beautifully written with a sweeping storyline. The details you learn about each character you meet show Merra to be an absolute genius story teller.
What have you picked up lately? Anything I should add to my TBR pile?